Primary school teachers likely to ballot for industrial action in New Year

Union members rejected Government proposals to end two-tier pay system


Primary school teachers seem set to ballot for industrial action in the New Year.

However, at a meeting on Friday, the Irish National Teachers’ Organisation (INTO) decided to hold off on such a move until a series of consultations with members around the country is completed in January.

Members of the INTO several weeks ago narrowly rejected new Government proposals to address the controversial two-tier pay system in schools.

The union said its central executive committee had decided on Friday that the ongoing consultation with members would continue until all branches and districts had been engaged.

The union said its executive acknowledged the commitment of all members to delivering pay equality for new entrants to the profession.

INTO General Secretary Sheila Nunan said:“In the recent ballot, our members rejected the offer from Government as failing to deliver pay equality for all new entrants. Consultation meetings have taken place over the last month, including a major consultative conference which has allowed the executive to better understand the views of our diverse membership. With several meetings still to take place, INTO will conclude this consultation stage before moving onto a subsequent ballot on industrial action.”

“Around the table there was a restatement of our ongoing commitment to delivering equal pay, which remains top of the agenda for the union. We will listen to our members, we will enact a timeline that works for our members and we will propose a campaign which will deliver for our members. “

In a ballot in October , members of the INTO voted against the Government initiative on new entrant pay by a margin of 53 per cent to 47 per cent. The turnout was 55 per cent.

In September, the Government tabled proposals to end the system of those recruited since 2011 receiving lower pay than longer-serving colleagues by allowing those affected to catch up by jumping two increments on their pay scale over a number of years.

The Government estimated the initiative would cost nearly €200 million by the time the process was completed in 2026.

Under INTO rules a ballot for industrial action must pass by a two-thirds majority.

Last month members of the country’s largest secondary teachers’ union, ASTI, also narrowly rejected Government proposals to address the controversial two-tier pay system in a ballot.